Indian Army Chief visit to Sri Lanka

New Delhi: Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Wednesday discussed steps for further enhancing the excellent bilateral defence cooperation in a meeting with Sri Lanka’s top military leadership. 

The Indian Army chief is currently on a four-day visit to the country at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart Gen Shavendra Silva. The Indian Army chief arrived in Sri Lanka on Tuesday and called on General GDH Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), Secretary, Ministry of Defence, and discussed steps to take forward the excellent defence cooperation between Sri Lanka and India, the Indian Army said in a tweet.

Gen Naravane also visited the Army Headquarters where he carried out Turnout Inspection and received a Guard of Honour. “COAS complimented the Guard for impeccable ‘Turnout & Parade’,” it said in another tweet.Gen Naravane called on Gen Shavendra Silva to discuss issues concerning bilateral defence cooperation between two countries. Gen Naravane  also interacted with the senior officers of the Sri Lankan Army during the visit.

The Indian Army also said that he laid a wreath at Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKP) War Memorial here and paid tributes to the bravehearts of the Indian Army who laid down their lives during the Peace Keeping Operations in Sri Lanka. “(His) Visit will pave (the) way for deeper cooperation in defence between India and Sri Lanka,” the Indian High Commission here said in a tweet on Tuesday. For the rest of his visit, Gen Naravane is expected to meet President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

During his visit, he will also witness the final demonstration of the ongoing bilateral Exercise ‘Mitra Shakti’ at Maduru Oya Special Forces Training School in the east. India and Sri Lanka last week began a 12-day mega military exercise with a focus on enhancing counter-terror cooperation at the Combat Training School in the island nation’s eastern district of Ampara.The eighth edition of the ‘Mitra Shakti’ exercise from October 4 to 15 got underway with the participation of an all arms contingent of 120 Indian Army personnel, headed by Colonel Prakash Kumar.

The joint military exercise has been designed to enhance understanding of transnational terrorism, inter-operability skills, conduct of joint tactical operations, sharing of each other’s best practices and experiences, the Sri Lanka Army said.The annual training programme, which has largely contributed to strengthen bilateral military cooperation, understanding and bonds of neighbourly relations between both services, takes place alternatively either in India or Sri Lanka every year, it added.